Colic Prevention: Proven tips to help reduce your horse's risk

By: Dr. Lydia Gray


Webinar Transcript:

    • 1. Colic Prevention:Proven tips to help reduce your horse’s risk Lydia F. Gray, DVM Medical Director/Staff Veterinarian Jessica Normand Senior Director – SmartSupplements™ September 13, 2012
    • 2. Your Presenters
  • 3. Agenda• Equine Digestive Tract• What is Colic?• Clinical Signs• Diagnosis• Treatment• Risk Factors• Prevention• ColiCare™ Colic Surgery Reimbursement Program• Questions & Answers
  • 4. Equine Digestive Tract- Mouth Visit Esophagus to view our talk on the equine Stomach, Foregut, digestive tract called “Digestive Health Webinar”- Small Intestine. Large Intestine - Hindgut 
  • 5. What is Colic?• A general term for any abdominal pain in the horse• Causes more deaths in horses than any other disease
  • 6. What is Colic?• Three primary categories/types of colic:  Intestinal Dysfunction • Spasms • Gas • Impaction • Ileus (lack of motility) Intestinal Accident • Entrapment • Twist • Infarction, Clot, Emboli (loss of blood supply) Inflammation or Ulcer • Stress • Medication • Infection • Parasites
  • 7. Clinical Signs of Colic• Pawing• Looking at, kicking, biting abdomen• Stretching out as if to urinate• Repeatedly lying down and getting up• Rolling, especially violent rolling• Sitting in a dog-like position, lying on back• Not eating or drinking• Lack of bowel movements• Absent or reduced digestive sounds• Elevated respiration or pulse rate• Depression• Lip curling (Flehmen response) Colic: Minimizing its incidence and impact in your horse (AAEP client education brochure)
  • 8. Diagnosis of Colic• History and clinical signs• Physical examination• Additional tests• Response to treatment• Rule out: – Ulcers – Tying up – Pneumonia
  • 9. Treatment of Colic• Medical – Pain-killers – Fluids – Oral agents• Surgical
  • 10. Risk Factors of Colic• Proven Causes: – Hay and grain changes – Increased stall time – Dehydration – Change in activity – Parasites – Cribbing – Sand – Previous colicCohen ND, Factors predisposing to colic, 8th Congress on Equine Medicine and Surgery,2003White NA, Equine Colic II: Causes and risks for colic, 52nd Annual Convention of theAAEP, 200610
  • 11. Risk Factors of Colic• Anecdotal Causes: – Lack of dental care – Travel – Weather
  • 12. Prevention of Colic: What can horse owners do?• Veterinary Care• Horsekeeping• Activity & Exercise• Diet & Feeding Practices• Digestive Health Supplements
  • 13. What can horse owners do?Veterinary Care• Annual physical exam• Annual dental exam/dental care• Parasite control 
  • 14. What can horse owners do?Horsekeeping• Provide adequate turnout• Allow grazing, if possible• Offer socialization• Ensure access to clean, fresh water 
  • 15. What can horse owners do?Activity & Exercise• Provide consistent exercise• Change exercise gradually (duration, frequency, intensity)• Avoid sudden changes to activity and exercise 
  • 16. What can horse owners do?Diet & Feeding Practices• Feed 1-2% of horse’s body weight per day in forage• Limit grain/feed in multiple small meals if it is needed – Do not feed more than 0.5% of a horse’s body weight in grain at one meal• Change BOTH hay and grain gradually – Grain changes increase a horse’s risk of colic by 5 times – Hay changes increase a horse’s risk of colic by 10 times!• Allow for pasture grazing if possible• Feed a digestive health supplement 
  • 17. What can horse owners do?Digestive Health Supplements• Look for these ingredients: – Probiotics (live beneficial bacteria) – Prebiotics (nourishment for the “good bugs” in the hindgut) – Digestive Enzymes (e.g. amylase, protease, lipase) – Yeast – Soluble fiber sources (e.g. oat beta glucan, pectin)Glycemic responses of oat bran products in type 2 diabetic patients.Tapola N, Karvonen H, Niskanen L, et al. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2005 Aug; 15(4): 255-61.Pre - and Probiotics: Potentials for Equine PracticeJullian V, Proceedings of the 3rd European Equine Nutrition & Health Congress, Mar. 17- 1718, 2006
  • 18. Digestive Health SupplementsEffects of dietary short-chain fructooligosaccharides on the intestinal microflora ofhorses subjected to a sudden change in diet. Respondek F, Goachet Ag, Julliand V. JAnim Sci. 2008 Feb;86(2):316-23Effect of live yeast culture supplementation on apparent digestibility and rate ofpassage in horses fed a high-fiber or high-starch diet. Jouany JP, Gobert J, Medina B,et al J Anim Sci. 2008 Feb;86(2):339-
  • 19.Effect of a preparation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae on microbial profiles and
  • 20. NEW Colic surgery reimbursement program• Visit to learn more
  • 21. Questions & Answers 
  • Questions
  • 1. There are so many forms of colic. I would like to hear a brief discussion of what they are.
  • 2. Does age have anything to do with colic?
  • 3. What gives a certain breed a disposition for colic..i.e....Friesians?
  • 4. Does breed affect colic susceptibility (TB, draft, etc.)?
  • 5. Once a horse colics, do they become prone to it?
  • 6. Can dry, unsoaked beet pulp cause colic?
  • 7. Do apples cause colic?
  • 8. Does teeth floating being late have anything to do with it at times?
  • 9. Putting horse away warm (not hot) after exercise and feeding after exercise (how long to really wait).
  • 10. I am hoping the presenter can speak a little about enteroliths. I had a mare that had them, colicked and ultimately had to be put down. She was in her 20s, so it made the most sense to me. Im curious as to cause, prevention and removal. 
  • 11. Does cribbing increase colic risk or do they crib because they have stomach issues that put them more at risk?
  • 12. Weather related colic. My horse had a gastro-intestinal colic on Saturday night when that front/storm moved in.
  • 13. Can you help explain the symptoms of colic vs. ulcers?
  • 14. Im concerned with a "low drinker" and the weather changes - last year at age 14 he impacted and almost died and had to have surgery. He still is not a great drinker and Im afraid cooler weather will depress his thirst more. Any tips?
  • 15. Can you offer a horse water after a hot trail ride or medium work in the arena right afterwards, or can he get a colic when drinking too early?
  • 16. It is a warm day and you are going to go on a 4 hour trail ride without water access. How should you get your horse to drink? Should you worry about dehydration? How should they drink when the ride is over - warm small drinks or large cold drinks? 
  • 17. What are the early signs of colic? Is walking the horse really a good idea?
  • 18. How can one determine the difference between colic and other abdominal situations, like an ovarian cyst or such?
  • 19. What to do and not do if you suspect your horse is starting to colic.
  • 20. Historically we have been told not to let a horse with colic roll. Is that still accepted? Should we keep them walking?
  • 21. What is the action of banamine on the GI tract that makes it so effective in resolving colic?
  • 22. I will be moving my horses from a hay pasture that has some green but not a lot to a beautiful lush pasture. What should I do to make sure nothing happens to them? I am a pretty new horse owner and try to do everything I can to keep my horses safe.
  • 23. Does coastal hay contribute to the cause of colic? 
  • 24. Questions. Does the addition of mineral oil to the feed cut down on the incidence of colic?
  • 25. I use SmartDigest Ultra during the winter months and stop it in the spring when the grass comes up. Should I use it all year for a mare that had a mild impaction colic two years ago? I also introduced her to Horse Quencher which helps increase liquid intake.
  • 26. Can you tell us more about the colic supplement that SmartPak offers that will pay for colic surgery?
  • 27. My show mare had colic three times, nearly dying before we discovered she had round worms. How do I administer the correct worm medication to avoid this from ever happening again?
  • 28. What do you recommend for a worming schedule to alleviate tapeworms? Are fecal tests for tapes fairly reliable?
  • 29. I live in sandy Florida. What do you recommend for routine sand clearing? 
  • 25. 1-800-461-889825
  • 26. Thank you for attending our Webinar! Please visit us at, email us at CustomerCare@SmartPak.comor call us at 1-800-461-8898 if we can answer any further questions.
  • ~ Your Friends at SmartPak 

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